Lindqvist, John Ajvide - 'Let The Right One In' (translated by Ebba Segerberg)
Swedish detective novels translated into English are fairly common these days, with authors such as Henning Mankell appearing regularly in the best-seller charts. Having conquered crime fiction, it could be that Swedish horror writers will be the next 'big thing'.
Leading the charge is John Ajvide Lindeqvist, a stand-up comedian in his native Sweden, with this impressive first novel, set in the characterless western suburbs of Stockholm in 1981, where the author grew up.
Co-incidentally, the central character is a 12-year-old boy, Oskar, a lonely child with a raft of personal problems, not the least being persistently bullied at school. Oskar becomes infatuated with a teenage girl who moves into the flat next door. She has even more problems than Oskar, only the least of which is that she is 200-year-old vampire!
Once night falls and the vampire gets peckish, the killings begin and horrible though they are, it's the victims who simply won't stay dead who are responsible for much of the ensuing violence and there is plenty of it, with enough blood and gore to satisfy the most ardent horror fan.
Lindqvist has attempted to update the ancient vampire myth around a very modern pair of alienated teenagers and in telling the story of most bizarre friendship, the book succeeds fantastically well. Perhaps he is not quite as good as Stephen King in his hey-day but, as millions of horror fans would say: who is?
Mike Ripley, England